The question more people are asking is how Hillary Clinton can unite the country after she is elected. This campaign has made it clearer than ever how divided a nation we are. Donald Trump’s incredibly negative and divisive campaign, his speech and his actions, have exacerbated the divisions. We have seen some people take his campaign as permission to model poor behavior voicing their own racism, homophobia, sexism and misogynistic tendencies.
These divisions won’t go away or be healed quickly. It will take time, education and rational people in both the Republican and Democratic parties working hard to heal the rifts and allow the country to move forward together. My optimism leads me to believe it can and will happen.
The reason for that optimism is Hillary Clinton. She has a lifetime of experience working to heal rifts and soothe hurt feelings. Actually, many women have the same experience in their own lives and families.
One indication of Hillary’s ability to succeed is how Americans view her every time she is in a position of power or in office. In those situations her approval ratings go up every time. When she was a senator from New York her approval rating was at about 58 percent. It was even higher when she was Secretary of State at around 65 percent. When she was first lady of the United States her approval ratings went up and down often depending on what Bill did but peaked at 67 percent. We should also remember that for 20 years she has been voted most admired woman in the world in the Gallup poll.
So Hillary has shown her ability to bring people together and to change their feelings toward her. When she didn’t get universal healthcare passed during her husband’s administration she didn’t give up working for children. It was reported in a Penn Live op-ed, “Hillary made adoption and foster care one of her priorities. She worked across the partisan aisle, with two unlikely partners: former Republican Minority Whip Tom Delay of Texas and business leader Dave Thomas of Wendy’s, a lifelong Republican. Together, they held events at the White House to raise awareness, and built support for legislation that would encourage adoptions, provide more aid for foster families, and help foster children find permanent, safe, loving homes. The first piece of legislation was the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, which provided support and services for adoptive families, and increased foster adoptions by 64 percent by 2002.”
Hillary worked with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to get the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) passed. Nick Littlefield, Kennedy’s top domestic policy adviser, said, “Hillary was a one-woman army inside the White House to get this done.” Even after the new program was signed into law according to David Nexon, Kennedy’s former healthcare staff director, “The work wasn’t done and Hillary knew it. It was up to the states to make sure low-income children could enroll and receive high-quality care. Hillary worked alongside Republican governors across the country, including Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, and Utah Gov. Leavitt to promote the Insure Kids Now campaign and make sure the children who needed coverage were able to sign up.”
Then when in the Senate Hillary worked with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and others on healthcare for the National Guard. In 2007, on Voice of America when talking about working across the aisle, Graham quipped, “that his relationship with Clinton is a good example of that. We have become, actually, good friends. And that was a surprise to both of us.”
Hillary like many women tends to be more of a nurturer. She has brought up an amazing daughter and kidded recently even though she will be the commander-in-chief she will still be approving the china and flowers for state dinners. She like so many women is tough. But like so many women she is able to share credit or even give credit to others if it will mean achieving her goals.
All you have to do is watch Hillary as the campaign nears its end. She is speaking more of uniting people; Democrats, Republicans and independents. She understands the difficulty of what she will be up against but I will put my money on Hillary to succeed. “Stronger Together” is not just a slogan to her; it is her vision for our future, a better future for all.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.